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La Paree, March, 1937

Paulette Poses

by Robert Leslie Bellem

DESPITE her drab garb, Paullette Poincare was lovely. The dust-kerchief upon her head could not conceal the shimmery softness of her platinum-blonde hair. The dab of dirt on her cheek could not detract from the piquant wistful sweetness of her features. Nor could the faded, ragged cotton dress take away from the lilting symmetry of her body. Her legs were perfection. Her hips were slender eulogies. Her breasts stood out with youthful, saucy boldness under the faded cotton material; and anybody with half an eye could see that there was no brassiere to lend artificial support to those twin domes of delight.

With a broom in one hand and a mop in the other, Paulette went to the door of Pierre Franchard's studio. Paulette was the house slavey; the girl-of-all-work. She did the cleaning, the scrubbing and the dusting for the entire house, which, being in the Quartier Latin, was tenanted mainly by sculptors, artists, models and the like.

This Pierre Franchard, whose studio Paulette was about to clean, was a sculptor, and very handsome and young to boot. Every time she saw Pierre, Paulette's heart fluttered like a caged bird. But he never seemed to pay any attention to her. She was just another house fixture in his eyes, it seemed.

Just the same, Paulette adored him—word- lessly and without giving him a single hint of her secret feelings. At night, in her tiny basement bed, she always dreamed about his kisses and caresses. But that was all imagination, of course. By morning, she would awaken to the grey, lusterless reality that she was only a slavey, and Pierre had no time for her....

NOW HER HAND went to his doorknob and turned it. She started to enter the studio. Then she froze.

Instead of the place being unoccupied as she had assumed, Pierre was inside. He had apparently been working on a bit of sculpture. A feminine nude, life-size. The daubed, semi-shapeless figure stood upon the dais. The wire framework had been bent into proper shape, and clay was already affixed to it in lumpy chunks. In fact, Pierre's artistic, capable fingers had already begun moulding the clay into form. You could see the growing symmetry of outline; legs, hips, thighs, torso, high breasts, head.

However, he wasn't working on the statue at the moment Paulette opened the door. Au contraire, he was working—on t...

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